July 21, 2012

Taking small steps

No matter what you do in life - it is important to have goals and also a plan in place to make sure you reach those goals.  Nevertheless, even with a plan in place, you must learn how to take small steps before you start running....especially when doing something new.

So I'm starting to get my feet wet in real estate and even though I have a plan in place...there are a few areas that I'm not an expert in.  I figured that I'd just jump into this side of investing and everything else would "fall in place".  But this is not the case.  Before buying real property, one should have certain contacts in place to be sure that a place will be "move-in ready" shortly after closing.  Contacts such as, plumbers, carpet installers (flooring), property inspector, etc.

Having such contacts in place will help your process run smoothly from start to finish.  Also, joining a real estate association or organization will help to build your network and learn a lot from others who are in the same business as you are.

As the old adage goes, "you get what you pay for".  Don't cheap out on everything!  Find individuals who are experts in their craft and have several years of experience.  Finding a good realtor would be the first place to start.  S/he will be able to help you find the right property and possibly have contacts ready for you at a reasonable price...although I'd still encourage you to shop around to make sure you're getting a good price as well.

I went through maybe 3-4 realtors before I found the right one!  In my experience, I like for my realtor to also have several properties of their own - because the insight from a realtor and from a property owner can help in selecting your property.  Nevertheless, the decision is yours and you can only blame yourself if everything doesn't go as planned...but a good realtor will help you avoid several bad decisions.

I'm having a little buyer's remorse, but from what I hear is that this feeling is normal.  It's a big purchase and having a little remorse is necessary - it's like having a gut check to make you really think about what you're doing.  And to make sure that you're doing everything right.

Nevertheless, the lessons learned on this property should well prepare me for the next investment...whether it's another residential property or maybe something commercial.  But no matter what - I'll be taking small steps until I'm off and running.


July 14, 2012

Where 20-somethings and 30-somethings should invest....

Have you checked up on the stock market lately?  Sure you have...we all know the stock market is unpredictable right now.  It's becoming increasingly difficult to find investments that will turn a profit.  There are several reasons in the news today on why you should take your money and stuff it into the mattress until  the global economy returns to normal.

BUT, we know that true investors shouldn't run and hide during a crisis....they should run towards the opportunity.

The opportunity, I believe, lies in Real Estate.  The average American citizen has been significantly affected by the economic downturn, and because of these events (that began in 2007) there has been a great transfer of wealth and a dramatic shift in American psychology.  Unfortunately several Americans have lost their homes and severely damaged their credit scores.  This will delay them in qualifying to purchase another home anytime soon.  In addition, some Americans now are nervous about buying a home because of the uncertainty of their own employment status.

Therefore, most Americans will most likely rent versus owning a home in the long-term future.  College graduates (from 2008-Present) consider renting versus buying their own home...that is, if they do not elect to move back in with their parents/guardians.  The job market has been shaky for a while...and a shaky job market decreases one's appetite for risk in owning a home.

America has, or is becoming, a renters' society.

Other factors that support this claim are below:

  • Real Inflation is on the rise
  • Incomes have not kept up with the real rate of inflation
  • Tax increases on individuals are inevitable
  • Average career change in a lifetime for new grads is between 7-11
  • The costs for going to college is becoming too expensive
  • The average college student's debt is between $25,000-$27,000
  • There has been a general decline in credit scores
Wealthy investors, institutional investors, and individuals that have the ability to purchase real estate - should do just that.  Buying real estate at today's prices is like buying clothes off the clearance rack that's marked 40% off.  Interest rates for financing are below 4% and there are several homes to choose from in almost every city.  I do not think that there is a market for short-term investing (you know, flipping houses for profit), however, I do think the market is ripe for long-term investors looking to acquire real estate.

Diversifying out of the stock market into real estate is a good way to generate cash flow for the future.  We all know that Social Security in its present form is something we can't rely on.  Therefore, we must build our own Social Security while we're young and able to work - because one day we may not be so able....or so willing.  Owning rental property can help build your wealth over time...and now looks like a good time to buy.

These are just my thoughts based on the facts!


July 13, 2012

IMF Survey: IMF Head Hails Asia’s Leading Role in Global Stability

IMF Survey: IMF Head Hails Asia’s Leading Role in Global Stability

Will Asia be the next leading economic power house?  They seem to be helping the world out just fine!